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Yvette Castillo, assistant professor of the Department of Education, said the traditional Day of the Dead celebration can be seen in Oaxaca, Mexico where it is a week-long celebration.
“Individuals go to the cemeteries and they honor those lives that have passed, working together as a family to clean out the cemetery, to bring offerings that were very special for those individuals lives,” she said.The first annual “Dia de los Muertos” took place last year. Castillo said the College of Education and Social Sciences did not expect such a success.
“We had no idea or anticipation of how many people would be involved,” she said. “We actually had 30 altars last year.”
Carlos Cuevas, a part-time instructor at WT, participated last year and will do so again this year.
“[The event] is not about celebrating dead, it is about a celebration of life,” he said.
Castillo said the purpose of the event is to have the community become more involved with WT.
“Because WT is trying to establish [itself] as a Hispanic-serving institution, to actually showcase and invite more cultural events that will help shed some light and appreciation for that culture, I think, it will become helpful,” she said. “I think as a result of having this event, we raised awareness of WT and WT’s appreciation for diversity.”
She said it is important to bring the event to WT to showcase the culture and the grieving process.
“[The event shows] that actually having altars for people that have passed away is a healthy way of grieving in some cultures,” she said.
The event will start Nov. 2 when students will have their altars ready to be displayed. There are several categories for trophies including ‘most creative’ and ‘most traditional.’
“This year we added two more trophies, ‘most modern’ and ‘most spiritual,’” Castillo said. “In the different ‘ofrendas,’ people really put their heart and souls.”
The winners will be announced on Nov. 2 during the “Dia de los Muertos” celebration from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the fourth flour of Old Main and they will be showcased in the Counselor Education Newsletter. The event will feature folkloric dance from student of the Hispanic Student Association. Lluvia Vidaña, a freshman Dance major, is one of the three dancers.
“It would be nice to show West Texas a little about our home,” she said.
The altars will be available for display until Nov. 4. To participate with an altar, contact the College of Education and Social Sciences by Oct. 31.